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I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Transfiguration shows God’s love for Jesus, His people

The readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration tell us about the future God has in store for people who follow Jesus. Like Jesus, we're ultimately called to live in glory for all eternity.

In the first reading, Daniel has a vision of heaven. The Ancient One, whom we call God the Father, is seated on the throne. "His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on His head as white as wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire flowed out from where He sat."

This scene has brilliant light, flames of fire, wheels of burning fire and a surging stream of fire flowing from the throne. The Ancient One is depicted as the source of this seemingly never-ending source of energy.

Next Daniel sees "One like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when He reached the Ancient One and was presented before Him the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all people, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall never be taken away, His kingship shall never be destroyed."

Remember, this prophetic vision took place in Babylon about 600 years before the birth of Christ. God gave the Hebrew people a vision of what the "Son of man" would be like. They couldn't have understood what this vision really meant, but today, we see this as a vivid description of Christ taking His place at the right hand of the Father after His resurrection and ascension.

We're richly blessed to have this revelation to guide us. It helps us to see what the glory of heaven will really be like.

In the second reading, Peter responds to criticism of Christ's teaching on the resurrection. He clearly states that they weren't following "cleverly devised myths," but "we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to Him from the majestic glory, 'This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.'"

The Gospel gives us a glimpse of the future glory that God desires to share with us. As crucifixion draws ever closer, Jesus wants to take time away from the large crowds, so He takes His three closest companions up a high mountain to pray

He's entering into full obedience with the Father about the coming passion. God the Father has the lawgiver Moses, and Elijah, the greatest prophet, join Jesus. Jesus enters so deeply into the Father's will that the Father's glory shines through His garments. It must have been a great consolation for Jesus to see Moses and Elijah, both of whom also suffered for their faith.

Jesus is filled with joy to be able to carry out the Father's will for the salvation of mankind. "For the sake of the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame...."

It wasn't enough for God the Father to send Moses and Elijah to comfort Jesus. The Father's voice came out of a cloud and said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him."

When they witnessed this, the disciples were afraid, but Jesus reassured them saying, "Rise and do not be afraid."

It's interesting that as the crucifixion drew near, Jesus wanted to be in prayer with three of His closest friends. He also wanted them to have this experience to help them through their future trials and sufferings. Peter never forgot this scene.

At the last supper, Jesus tells His apostles: "As the Father has loved me, so also I have loved you." In that context it's fair to suggest that when the Father says, "This is my beloved Son," He also included these three apostles, as well as all of Jesus' followers.

We would do well to spend time praying with this Transfiguration scene. Just place yourself in the midst of the three, and allow the heavenly Father to tell you, "You are my beloved child."

Just what does this mean, to be the beloved child of the Father? It simply means what Jesus said it means: If Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves Him, then the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Just think of it. Jesus and the Father have been together for all eternity, and now we come along and Jesus and the Father love us as much as they love each other.

After all, in baptism we have received the inner life of God to dwell within us. Yet it's difficult to accept the fact that we're the beloved children of the Father. If we really spent time in His presence contemplating His incredible love for us, our lives would change drastically. If I really believed that the Father loves me as much as He loves Jesus, I would not take offense over what is said about me. I would bask in the Father's love, secure and unafraid.

Yet, the more we take the time to sit before the Father and allow Him to speak those words to our hearts, and allow ourselves to relish those words, the more we will radiate God's love and light to others. 

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